The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr

If you like intrigue, mystery and intense fantasy, you will enjoy reading the debut novel of The Darkwater Saga by Patrick W. Carr. Carr introduces us to Lord Dura, the king’s reeve. Assigned to investigate a recent grisly murder, Lord Dura finds himself bequeathed with an unusual gift. This gift he does not understand, but soon realizes he must or it will consume him.

The Shock of Night follows Lord Dura on his investigation and his quest to understand his gift. Author Patrick Carr draws us into an intricately created fantasy world of intrigue, deception, and shrouded memories. With detailed descriptions of scenery and characters, Carr introduces readers to the imaginary realms that surround the mysterious Darkwater forest.

While I appreciated Carr’s detailed descriptions he used to create the backdrop and settings for The Shock of Night, at times I found details overwhelming which distracted me from what was actually happening. Although this was a novel of mystery and suspense, I felt that some of the characters were so enigmatic it was hard to understand who they were and follow their significance in the plot. Finally, while the characters were strong and developed, the details kept me from getting quickly involved in the plot.

I thought The Shock of Night was well written, but a bit too heavy on the details which slowed down the story. Also be aware the violence is quite graphic. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr for my candid review.

All Hallows Eve: A Timeless Romance Anthology

Once again A Timeless Romance Anthology introduces another entertaining and eclectic collection of stories in the All Hollows Eve Collection: Six Romance Novellas by Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, Heather B. Moore, Lisa Mangum, Jordan McCollum, and Elana Johnson. If you enjoy ghost stories, you will enjoy these ghost story romances from authors who are deftly experienced in captivating and entertaining their readers.

From the surreal to the everyday ghost, from historical to supernatural settings, from realistic modern to fantastical settings, the authors of All Hallows Eve create tales of magic, suspense, love, and loss with genuine characters and plausible settings that gently transport us into a world of the paranormal while maintaining a sense of the believable in their stories.

Overall, I thought All Hallows Eve was a fun twist to another great Timeless Romance Anthology. Heather B. Moore gave me a complimentary copy of All Hallows Eve for my candid review.

King by R. J. Larson

I like reading fantasy, but I’ve usually read adolescent fantasy.  Reading King by R.J. Larson was my first foray into reading adult fantasy and I was very pleased. The King has the quintessential elements of fantasy: another world, courageous and evil characters, and the eternal battle of good versus evil, and of course of an intense plot.

Although I had not read the previous two books in the series, King was intense and captivating. Both females and male characters had depth and pathos, and I like how Larson’s characters used their sorrow to seek after good rather than become bitter.

When Akabe finds himself king, instead of a free warrior, his overriding desire is to rebuild the Infinite’s temple.  Although not shrewd, king Akabe genuinely seeks to better his kingdom and turns his subjects’ hearts to the Infinite. Through skillful narrative and incisive insights into human nature, Larson draws us into the troubles of Siphra and its enemies that will do anything to prevent another temple where the faithful can worship.

Through Akabe, we meet his loyal friends, Ela the young visionary and unpredictable prophet and Kien the new Lord Aeyrievale, who pledge everything to help him accomplish his dream. Although Akabe desires to do right, his plan has unforeseen consequences when he impulsively marries an enigmatic queen who represents those who want to undermine his temple plans. By eventually confronting his past, Akabe comes to realize that to faithfully follow the Infinite requires much more than making grand plans.

While Larson’s story is one of adventure and good triumphing evil, it is largely a story of how loss and love can transform people into more compassionate beings.

Larson’s reference to parental figures confused me at the beginning of the book but the guide in the front of the book was helpful. Overall, I enjoyed reading the King and plan to read the Prophet and Judge, also part of the Books of the Infinite series. Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of King by R.J. Larson to review.